#MiddayMusic presents Joe Howson (piano) and Connaught Brass (quintet)

This week our Young Artists Joe Howson (piano) and Connaught Brass (quintet) performed for #MiddayMusic. You can read our exclusive interviews with them and watch their videos below. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to catch all our upcoming videos, or watch our exclusive playlist.

Next week you can look forward to performances from Jani Silva (percussion) on Monday, and Samuel Ng (cello) on Wednesday, both at midday.

Connaught Brass: Wandering the line between serious and playful 

Musicians’ Company RAM Ensemble prize winners, Connaught Brass, are making a name for themselves as a fresh talent in the chamber world. Here, the group’s French Horn player, Robyn Blair, tells us a little about what the London-based ensemble have been up to and the #MiddayMusic they’ve chosen to play.

“Whilst 2020 has brought its own set of challenges, the members of Connaught brass have all individually been graduating with bachelor’s degrees from the Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama during and in-between lockdowns.

As concerts were understandably postponed, we’ve used the time to plan what we want to be playing next, and have commissioned several new arrangements from a friend of ours, Will Foster. We’ll be playing an arrangement of Biber’s Battalia by him during our first ever live online performance for the Canterbury Music Club on December 13th.

If all goes to plan we’ll also be heading over to the Switzerland Art Gallery in Rapperswil for a recital on the 24th January 2021. And there’s still some time to go before our September 2021 debut in the Lucerne Festival…!

For our #MiddayMusic concert, we’ve decided to play an arrangement of Bach’s E minor Prelude and Fugue by G. Graber. We chose this because it’s such an evocative piece – it has a deeply dark, soulful richness to it that seemed perfect for our return after months of forced separation. And to lighten the mood, Vals Peruano from Suite Americana by Enrique Crespo. We will be playing Suite Americana in full in the Canterbury Music Club concert. When coming up with programmes, we like to be able to wander the line between serious and playful. Hopefully our #MiddayMusic video showcases exactly that.”

Visit connaughtbrass.com for details of future concerts.

Joe Howson: Adding to his repertoire 

Multi-award winning pianist, Joe Howson, specialises in contemporary music and collaborative playing. An RCM postgraduate awarded the Company’s RCM Lambert scholarship, Joe holds a 2020/21 Piano Fellowship with the Philarmonia Orchestra and works as staff pianist at Trinity Laban Conservatoire.

“One of the things lockdown has taught me is not to lose track of my long-term career goals! Slowing down made me realise I was overworking myself on less important tasks and neglecting my solo and chamber performance ambitions. However, slowing down too much has also taught me it’s important to keep moving (literally and figuratively), and to never become complacent about my work situation!

Pre-lockdown, lots of my work was freelance accompaniment for choirs, dance classes and instrumentalists. Most of that ground to a halt, but thankfully I had teaching to fall back on. I’ve been using my newfound free time to learn more solo repertoire, which has been really enjoyable. I’m hoping to enter a few online competitions soon.

For my #MiddayMusic concert I’ve chosen to play music by Nikolai Kapustin, who passed away this summer. Kapustin is one of my favourite composers to play. The music is bursting with joy, and it fits under the fingers brilliantly! The sonata I’ve chosen to play is also one of my favourite piano pieces. 
Hopefully I’ll get to perform the full work when concerts resume.”

You can read more about Joe on his Artist profile page.